Care (verb): imperative forms

Xavier da Silva

Senior Member
Hello everyone,

I've been studying English for over 20 years and I must confess that I've never ever seen an example of use (by a native speaker) with the verb "care" (= to feel that something is important and worth worrying about - Oxford Dictionary) in the imperative forms. I've searched grammar books and dictionaries online, but nothing was found. I strongly suspect, after a post here that "care" doesn't exist in the imperative forms. So, my question: is it natural/correct to use "care" in the imperative, afirmative or negative?

The examples I made:

a. Care more about your family. They need you and love you.
b. Don't care what other people say.

Thank you in advance!
 
  • se16teddy

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I don't think the imperative is really relevant.

    "Care" is very commonly used in the negative. "Not to care" means "feel indifferent".

    "Care" is slightly less commonly used in the positive, but in a rather different sense - "have tender, loving feelings". I would prefer care for your family to care about your family.
     

    bennymix

    Senior Member
    I think "Don't care", negative imperative, is not rare. For reasons others
    have given, an imperative positive is conceptually odd, like telling someone,
    "Wish for a better life!" "Incline yourself to study!" "Care about your dog's fate at the pound!" "Concern yourself with your dog's fate!"

    From the definition you [Xavier] quote: [to care =] to feel that something is important

    there cannot (conceptually) be an imperative: "Feel that your future is important!"
     
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    se16teddy

    Senior Member
    English - England
    THAT sense of care, as *you* stated above, permits an imperative. The OP sense is different.
    I cannot read "care" in example a of #1 except in the sense of "love, have tender feelings". "About" sounds slightly odd, but it does not change my interpretation of "care".

    It would have been different if the example was "Care about rape, hell, the devil and split infinitives". Which I also think is a perfectly standard sentence.
     
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    bennymix

    Senior Member
    Well, the examples are proposals (which may or may not fly); they are linked to a general point, as I read it, that the imperative for 'care' [find important] does not exist or is rare.


    I cannot read "care" in example a of #1 except in the sense of "love, have tender feelings". "About" sounds slightly odd, but it does not change my interpretation of "care".

    It might have been different if the example was "Care about rape, hell and the devil"!
     

    Xavier da Silva

    Senior Member
    Thank you very much.

    I think "Don't care", negative imperative, is not rare. For reasons others
    have given, an imperative positive is conceptually odd, like telling someone,
    "Wish for a better life!" "Incline yourself to study!" "Care about your dog's fate at the pound!" "Concern yourself with your dog's fate!"
    In Portuguese, these imperatives above make perfect sense. They are common.

    Question:

    In place of "don't care what other people think", it's better (more acceptable) to use "don't pay any attention to what other people think.''

    Am I correct?

    Thank you in advance!
     

    bennymix

    Senior Member
    You are correct.
    This preserves the ability to say,
    "I know you care what people think, but here, you must not pay
    any attention to it (=you should not worry about it)"


    Thank you very much.



    In Portuguese, these imperatives above make perfect sense. They are common.

    Question:

    In place of "don't care what other people think", it's better (more acceptable) to use "don't pay any attention to what other people think.''

    Am I correct?

    Thank you in advance!
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    "Care for your family!" sounds like a perfectly normal (if slightly trite or sanctimonious) exhortation to me.
    Xavier, as I wrote in your similar thread, I agree with this, although "(if slightly trite or sanctimonious)" would depend on context.
     
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